Exhibition: Even Bad Girls Get The Blues
Location: Wishless Gallery, 5-12-10 Tabata Kita-ku, Tokyo
Date: 11 February – 5 March 2023
Commissioner: Wishless Gallery
2023 witnessed my first ever solo exhibition in Tokyo. Here’s the press release kids:
Even Bad Girls Get the Blues is a rapture of feminine pop power refracted through the gaze of a generation coming of age on the internet.
Despite our ever-quickening online environment, our old, pagan desire for goddess worship can be seen everywhere from strip clubs to the sirens of the silver screen.
Siena Barnes’ ink drawings celebrate queer icons who, like goddesses, challenge the status quo and take up more space than society would care to permit.
The work riffs on camp, defined in “Notes on Camp” by Susan Sontag as a “love of the unnatural”, where authenticity is revealed through artifice.
As notions of the feminine evolve, the Venusian ideal expands, fucking with societal gender norms to include the stars of Ru Paul’s drag Race, non binary beauties and proto pop idol Liz Taylor. Superstars become spectres, ghosts of old Hollywood haunting a brave new world they once ruled.
In the vein of Velazquez’s “The Toilet of Venus,” notions of the gaze are complicated by the internet with content creators behind and in front of the lens. Who is looking at who?
The artist reclaims her body through drawing subjects who return the gaze, in a contestof power. They challenge relational femininity —or the idea that the feminine is only alive in the eyes of the male gaze — and present an emboldened blend of grrl power.